The Connection(9)

By: Adriana Locke

“This is ridiculous!” I say, forking over Cane’s credit card. The lady hands it back to me after swiping it and Kari picks up my bags.

“No, it’s sweet.” She flounces out of the store and I follow, still not sure how I got talked into this.

“You didn’t even get anything!”

“Yeah. That purple tank top is mine. If it fits you, it’ll fit me.”

We enter the parking lot, find our rental car, and climb inside.

“Why does shopping exhaust me so much?” I ask, reclining back in the passenger seat. “I seriously feel like I’ve just ran a marathon.”

Kari laughs and starts the car. “Because you’re lame?”

“Funny.” I watch the city fly by as we make our way back to the hotel. “Want to tell me why we really just spent a few thousand of Cane’s hard earned dollars on things I don’t need?’

“Because you need them?”

“Seriously, Kari. I’m not stupid.”

“Because he wants to make you happy?”

I roll my eyes. “He knows this stuff doesn’t make me happy. Try again.”

“Because he doesn’t work very hard for his money?”

“Not true.”

“Because you look amazing in that stuff and that’ll make him happy?”

She bites her lip, her dark hair pulled into a messy bun on the top of her head. I can tell by the way she keeps re-gripping the wheel that something’s bothering her.

“I’ll take the last one just so we can switch topics.”

“To what?”

“To . . . what’s wrong with you?”

She releases a quick breath and glances at me out of the corner of her eye. She didn’t expect me to catch on, but I know her better than anyone. Something is definitely on her mind.

“Nothing,” she grumbles.

“You lie. You have that same look on your face you’d get when Dad would ask if you ate all of your broccoli. You’d say yes but we both knew you’d fed it to Snoopy under the table.”

A grin touches her lips. “It’s just . . . I don’t know what to do about Max.”

I turn to the side and watch her fidget in her seat. I’ve never been able to figure out their relationship. They seem completely together at one moment and then like they tiptoe around each other the next. It’s confusing to me, so I’m sure it has to be confusing to her.

“Because . . .”

“I just . . .” She sighs and smiles sadly at me. “I really like him.”

“I know you do. What’s wrong with that?”


“Um . . . Care to develop that sentence a bit more?”

She laughs half-heartedly. “He wants everything. He wants what you and Cane have.”

“Yeah, don’t you?”

She shrugs. “I don’t know. If I did, it would be with him, no doubt. He’s pretty perfect, you know.”

“I do,” I laugh. “I get Max. But I still don’t get you.”

“I don’t get me either.”

We pull into the parking garage of the hotel and she finds a spot. We grab the bags and head to the elevator. We’re silent as we enter the elevator to our rooms. I know she’s thinking about our conversation. I want to press the issue, but I don’t. I know some things you have to figure out yourself and relationships are one of them. As much as I want her with Max, if she doesn’t want to be, then she shouldn’t be. That’s for her to decide.

The elevator dings and we step out.

“What are your plans for this evening?” I ask, sticking my room card in and pushing the door part way open. I look at her doing the same thing to the room next door.

“I’ll call you. I believe besides spending his money, Cane also told Max and me to fuck like rabbits later. I told you I’m not one to disappoint.”

I shake my head and sit my bags on the floor inside. “Have fun.”

“Always,” she says with a sparkle in her eye. “If there’s one thing I have figured out in life, it’s how to have fun.” She winks before disappearing inside.


The restaurant inside the hotel is busy, people darting in and out, the staff trying to keep up. The food was good, not great, but the service has been attentive.

The waitress makes her way to us. Tall, blonde, wicked green eyes, huge tits that are on display in a low-cut, tight top . . . our waitress is definitely an 8.5 on a 10-scale. A year ago, I would’ve been all over that. Or she would’ve been all over me, more likely, and I would’ve taken her up on her offer. These are the easy pieces, the ones you don’t even have to work for. Today, however, I have zero interest.